Twenty-two persons were trained to conduct assessments of health care facilities and schools in accordance with established health, safety and green standards.
These standards are regarded as SMART because they encourage disaster resilience, risk reduction, health and climate change adaptation practices. The ‘SMART Toolkit Training for Critical Facilities’ was held from June 12 to 14, and was organised by the Department of Disaster Management with support from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
The training was aimed at helping participants understand the benefits and requirements of a SMART facility and how to apply a checklist during an inspection process to determine whether or not a facility has met the requirements.
Training Officer, Carishma Hicks said the BVI has adapted PAHO’s SMART Health Care Facilities concept which encourages environmentally friendly and disaster resilient practices. This concept was expanded to schools through the implementation of the Virgin Islands SMART Schools Programme which also requires incorporation of healthy lifestyle practices.
Ms. Hicks said the training was essential since there has been considerable work in the Territory to ensure health care facilities and schools implement health and safety practices and also integrate green measures into their daily operations.
She added, “The SMART Toolkit guides individuals through the processes required for SMART certification and by training representatives from these sectors, they will be able to understand what is required to make their structures robust and to reduce operating costs”.
The training was facilitated by PAHO’s Principal Consultant, Ronnie Lettsome and PAHO’s Country Supervisor, Alex Williams.
Mr. Lettsome said, “This training is timely since the SMART approach to health care facilities and schools is the trend now for the Caribbean as there is evidence that if we put proper structural, non-structural, functional, healthy and green measures in place then these critical facilities will be less vulnerable to hazard impacts and less costly to maintain and operate.”
Participants were required to apply the knowledge gained and use the checklist to conduct an assessment of a selected school and the Peebles Hospital on the final day of the training.
PAHO’s Country Supervisor, Mr. Williams said, “The application of elements of the Toolkit to evaluate and score these two facilities was an essential aspect of the training because it allowed the participants to demonstrate their application of the information presented while at the same time allowed the facilitators an opportunity to evaluate whether or not the participants grasped the concepts presented.”
Other presenters during the training were Director of DDM, Sharleen DaBreo and Acting Chief Environmental Health Officer, Yolanda Penn who spoke about green cleaning and food safety.
Individuals from BVI Health Services Authority, Ministry of Education, Facilities Management Unit, BVI National Parks Trust, the DDM and schools that have achieved the SAFE Schools certification benefited from the training.
The training included individuals outside of the education and health sectors to demonstrate that the toolkit can be adapted to any sector.